Mikey Bustos on navigating the challenges of being an online celebrity
“I don’t think anyone is prepared for the life that comes with going viral in the internet.”
It’s been 14 years since Mikey Bustos first posted a video on YouTube. It was a video of him performing as a front act for a Pussycat Dolls concert in Manila. And while initially renowned for his career as a singer and performer, it was really the relatable content he has been masterfully crafting and posting online that has captured the hearts and laughs of many.
“It’s been such a learning curve,” said Mikey about his career, despite years of creating countless viral videos such as “Adobo” – a parody of the song Let It Go from Frozen – and “Balikbayan Box” – a parody of the Miley Cyrus Hit “Wrecking Ball”. “You just have to navigate through,” he added.
While having to constantly think of new ideas is already a challenge in itself, having an audience that can directly interact with you via a comments section is another. “Having to deal with bashers is something you never get used to,” he remarked.
Other challenges Mikey mentioned that he has encountered in his career was having to fight through insecurities, second guessing himself, and managing his schedule.
There was even a time when Mikey was juggling multiple YouTube channels all while traveling, performing, and managing his ant business. And while it was a challenge for him to do all these simultaneously, all these “trades” brought about plenty of opportunities.
With these opportunities, however, come crucial choices he needed to make.
On taking risks
“For me, to be successful, you need to take calculated risks,” said Bustos who mentioned that one of the biggest risks he made in his life was moving to the Philippines from Canada.
But this was just one among many risks Mikey had to take in order for his career to flourish further.
“Signing contracts, teaming up with brands, expanding a team, collaborating with other content creators—these are all risks and choices you have to calculate and think about. You can’t just throw all your chips in and wish for the best” he stressed.
On the art of de-stressing
With all these decisions and challenges, not to mention having to sustain his career and business, there is no doubt that stress and risk of burnout frequent Mikey’s life.
To combat these, he turns to exercise and meditation.
“I always try to incorporate exercise into my routine. I go to the gym a few times a week, and now I’ve taken a love for running—making sure I go 10km every day. In terms of mentally staying in shape, I do a lot of meditation and prayer.”
To lessen the risk of burnout, Mikey also makes sure to explore his hobbies, which is sometimes a blurred line for him as his work involves making the most of his interests and sharing it online. He solves this dilemma by exploring his hobbies without feeling the need to bring a camera with him.
On the importance of trust
Another way Mikey reduces the stress brought about by his career and ventures is working with people that he trusts, which for him, is crucial to success.
In the time of the pandemic, Mikey also shared that bringing “trusty” items with him wherever he goes is key to having an extra “peace of mind”.
“Lately, I always bring all sorts of protective gear—masks, alcohol, face shields, and the like. I also make sure to bring a lipbalm because ‘you never know when you’ll be on camera,’” he remarked.
“I also make sure that I bring Diatabs with me wherever I go, especially when I’m running. It helps because I’ve been having ‘banyo-phobia’—When I’m far from the house and I really have to go, it’s hard for me to go use the public toilet because of the fear of acquiring the coronavirus. That’s why it’s always good to have Diatabs around,” he shared.
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